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Current position of the SSV Robert C. Seamans. Click on the vessel to view position history. Use the tools, top right, to change the map style or view data layers.

SEA Currents: SSV Robert C. Seamans


Feb

27

Lost and Found at Sea

Anna Cerf, A Watch, Middlebury College
The Global Ocean

Another view of our epic swim call yesterday, with volcano in the background

Ship's Log

Current Position
37° 13.16’ S x 176° 10.97’ E

Ship’s Heading & Speed
105°, 6 knots motor sailing

Weather
Clear skies & calm seas

Souls on Board

Growing up, I prided myself on having a decent sense of direction. I generally played the role of “navigator” with whomever I hiked, drove, or ran with.  I figured that coming into SEA Semester I would be able to transfer this ability and that hopefully it would help compensate for my complete lack of knowledge re: anything having to do with boats.

Nope!  How could I be so naïve?  I quickly learned that, on deck, I had absolutely no sense of where we were going or what kind of course we were making.  In open ocean with no landmarks to help me out, I was completely disoriented.  To my dad who is probably thinking “use the sun, daughter!”, I hate to admit that I’ve never gotten in the habit of using it and I usually have to double check with someone that the sun does, in fact, rise in the East (shout out to A Watch for confirming this right now!).  At night, sunless, it was even worse.  Sitting at lookout alone at the bow, I had no way of knowing which direction we faced or if the wind had changed.  I had a hard time even knowing what kind of speed we were making; at one point a few nights ago I called out “we’re cruising!” to people on our watch, only to be told by Ben C. that we were moving at a whopping 1.4 knots.

As is often the case for A Watch, Nick, our assistant scientist, and Cassie, our mate, came to rescue our confused watch.  They led us to a book by H. A. Rey, the author of Curious George, that describes stars and constellations with accessible descriptions and plenty of fun facts.  The book, along with Cassie and Nick’s guidance, has helped A Watch learn about our sky and how to use it to know where we are.  So far, our watch as a group can point out (but don’t quiz us):

  •         The Southern Cross (including Mimosa and Acrux)
  •         Rigel K.
  •         Orion (including Bellatrix, Betelgeuse, and Rigel)
  •         Canis Major with Sirius
  •         Canopis
  •         Gemini (with Pollux and Castor)
  •         Draco
  •         Arcturus, Spica, and Denebola
  •         Scorpius with Antares
  •         Canis Minor (with Procyon)

Our watch is looking forward to more clear evening and dawn watches to add to our collective knowledge about what’s above us.  Hopefully, we’ll be able to figure it out back home in the Northern Hemisphere with a flipped sky and continue to learn some stars after SEA Semester.

- Anna

P.S. Happy Birthday Father!!!! Enjoy.  Also, sending love to you, Mom, Alexa, Jordan, and Addis.

Previous entry: The Suite Life: On Deck    Next entry: The World Around Me

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